Market for vintage computers super soft right now?

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Market for vintage computers super soft right now?

I have a Platinum //e listed on eBay right now with what I think is a reasonable "buy it now" price.  Includes the extended 80 column card and the 5.25" Drive Controller card...  Tested and working.  Not in brand new condition, but typical of what you expect for a 30 year old computer.  Power supply board upgraded with one of the ReActive boards.  All the keys and the rubber feet are there.  I've had it listed a couple months and no bites on it.

 

Seems like a year or two ago this would have sold easy by now.  Not looking for lowball offers or people telling me I'm a terrible person for not giving it away for free.  I'm basically making nothing on this given what I paid for it and not even considering the time put into replacing broken key switches and the power supply board.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/266355970567

 

 

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I believe we are in a

I believe we are in a recession somewhat right now. When I was hunting for a different job some months ago, all the news on LinkedIn was IT layoffs, which could hurt for discretionary spending of people in our hobby. 

 

Also, Sept through the end of the year is a hard time to sell high ticket items, because many people are dealing with back to school and soon begin saving for Christmas. I sometimes shop extra hard on eBay in December for people offloading things for Christmas present money. Fast forward to tax returns and people will be buying stuff again... for how long, who knows. 

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I agree with you on the IT

I agree with you on the IT job market being bad.  I've been looking for over 9 months and was laid off almost 3 months ago (I saw it coming but wasn't able to do anything about it).  I've had ONE interview despite having applied for many hundred jobs and being submitted for dozens of others by recruiters.

 

In fact I probably wouldn't be trying to sell this otherwise.  I just have too many //e.  I've got about 10 others I was planning to list after this one sold.  But that apparently would be a complete waste of time.

 

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I'm sorry to hear you're in

I'm sorry to hear you're in that situation. I got lucky a few months ago, but finding interviews wasn't easy. It was definitely similar to your experience. I have friends now looking to change or find jobs and it's slow as molasses compared with a couple years ago when offers were falling from the sky in our area. I hope that staffing equalizes sooner than later; I got lucky and found a new job, and a month or two later my previous one did layoffs. 

 

Had I not just had to re-roof our house this week I would be all about some nice IIe machines. Sadly I hit all the bonus expenses on this one, as is to be expected when owning a home built in 1920. At least I can sleep knowing it was all done right. 

 

Hopefully you can hold these for a few months; echoing what I said previously if you catch people in tax return season you'll potentially have better luck. Either way I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. 

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softwarejanitor wrote:I have
softwarejanitor wrote:

I have a Platinum //e listed on eBay right now with what I think is a reasonable "buy it now" price.

...

 

The shipping cost is killing your listing - why is it so high? There is one almost identical listing from Canada, same price, slightly worst condition, but the shipping to the US is only $30. Buyers on eBay in general hate expensive shipping and think that you are trying to screw them.

 

Also with shipping cost this high, you might as well go for worldwide. Based on the eBay sales of my card so far, the US Apple II market is only about 50% of the global market. The other 50% are Western Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada.

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Actually, that's the real

Actually, that's the real cost for shipping.  Not even including packing materials.  I shipped a small card to Canada and it cost about $30 and was a real pain with lots of paperwork.  A large and much heavier item like this would be much more to ship.  International shipping the post office really makes inconvenient.  If I had to eat $50 in shipping costs and an hour of time waiting in line at the post office I'm losing money so it isn't worth it and I guess I should just cancel the auction and put that //e back into storage to wait for better market conditions or maybe a local sale.

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USPS Ground Advantage is $45

USPS Ground Advantage is $45 to anywhere in the US for a 15 lb.  20" x 20" x 8" box. For packing materials $5 should be more than enough.

 

If you feel like you need to add your time to the cost, then it's better to add it to the price of the item and leave the shipping at whatever the buyer can see when they go to verify the shipping cost.

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I would expect to pay about

I would expect to pay about / at least $50 to a seller to ship me an Apple II safely within the US. I'd legitimately be scared if it was under $30 shipping, but I'm not a 'normie.' If I'm sending something and subjecting a box of Apple II proportion to any of the major carrier ground services, I'm using a lot more than $5 in packing material. The last arcade motherboard I sent probably had more than that in anti-static bubble wrap alone, and I buy that in 100 meter rolls.

None of this is arguing the psychology of the average ebay buyer. Thanks to companies like Amazon setting a precedent by nearly entirely omitting packing material from their shipments and just replacing broken stuff instead, people think they can tape something in an empty box (not talking about anyone here) and send it off. And those same people probably don't even know what a crush rating is. 

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Hi softwarejanitor!

Yes, I see that eBay prices have gone up for everything lately. I remember that I bought my first Apple //e in 2016 for 50$, another 50$ for shipping to the intermediary company's warehouse in Delaware, and another 100$ for shipping to Russia. It came with an 80col card, a floppy drive card and a floppy drive. Now such prices are unfortunately no longer, but I honestly do not need. If only Apple /// and Apple Lisa to add to the my collection

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CVT wrote:USPS Ground
CVT wrote:

USPS Ground Advantage is $45 to anywhere in the US for a 15 lb.  20" x 20" x 8" box. For packing materials $5 should be more than enough.

 

If you feel like you need to add your time to the cost, then it's better to add it to the price of the item and leave the shipping at whatever the buyer can see when they

 

20x20x8 is barely bigger than a //e.  That would not be at all adequate to safely ship one.  Realistically you need at least 6" or so of packing material past each side of a computer to offer enough shock protection.  $5 would be pretty cheap for packing materials unless you use a re-used box.  Such a box would most likely need to be cut down to size.  The price of packing materials has gone way up lately.

 

However, I see your point.  I think I will re-list and increase the BIN price by $50 and reduce the shipping cost to $30.

 

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skate323k137 wrote:I would
skate323k137 wrote:

I would expect to pay about / at least $50 to a seller to ship me an Apple II safely within the US. I'd legitimately be scared if it was under $30 shipping, but I'm not a 'normie.' If I'm sending something and subjecting a box of Apple II proportion to any of the major carrier ground services, I'm using a lot more than $5 in packing material. The last arcade motherboard I sent probably had

 

This is exactly it.  I've received too many very poorly packed items from eBay (and Amazon is far worse).  I've occasionally had to return broken items.  If you are on these vintage computer forums long enough you will hear even worse horror stories about vintage gear unfixably broken in shipment.  I don't want to be "that guy" who does a lousy job of packing.  The shipping cost I had wasn't just something I made up, it was an actual shipping estimate, and probably too low for the packing.

 

But CVT is probably right at least about the perception of shipping costs, for the exact reasons you mention.  Which is why I am leaning towards increasing the BIN price and reducing the shipping.  I may actually net more out of it that way.

 

 

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I agree, psychologically to

I agree, psychologically to many potential buyers, that's probably going to be more appealing. 

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Shipping costs / postage kill everything, and will get worse.

In post #6, softwarejanitor wrote:

 

"Actually, that's the real cost for shipping.  Not even including packing materials.  I shipped a small card to Canada and it cost about $30 and was a real pain with lots of paperwork."

 

Uncle Bernie comments:

 

Shipping costs have exploded to a point where selling anything makes no sense anymore. I used to be able to ship my Apple-1 kits to Europe for ~$15 pre pandemic and in early 2023 its was $30-$40, depending on which EU country, as if the ridiculously small size of EU as a whole (compared to the distance over the pond) would matter.

 

What's worse, the E.U. customs goons have started to crack down on shipments of  integrated circuits and other electronic components if they don't have a Certificate of Conformance to the EU RoHS legislation.  "Lead free" is the motto. No exceptions for vintage stuff. Try to get that Certificate from a semiconductor company who made these ICs 40-50 years ago. And probably does not exist anymore / was swallowed by the bigger ones.

 

I had one case recently where a Brit sent one (!) defective IC from UK to Germany, and these customs goons did not let it pass, it went back to the sender with a red sticker that translates to "Not conforming to the way the EU works". A private mailing, mind you, to get a replacement. It took some 3 months for the round trip UK - Germany - UK.

 

Under these conditions it makes no sense to send anything to vintage computer hobbyists in the EU anymore.  Regardless if it's components, circuit boards, or complete collectible computers, the EU customs goons will not let it pass into their gulag.

 

Oh, and the last joke with shipping costs of this week was a shipment of Gen2 improved ACI PCBs from JLCPCB, China.

They charged me $31.24 for FEDEX International Priority shipping to the USA. No cheap, but acceptable. When I tried to ship 2/3rds of these PCB back to China, FEDEX quoted $182 for the lower weight and smaller box. Figure that. Insanity.

 

As for offerings on Ebay, I'm still looking out for auctions to complete my vast vintage computer and IC collection, but more often than not, the shipping costs are the deal breaker, often exceeding the value of the item.

 

I wonder which long term consequences the ever increasing shipping costs have on manufacturers who depend on deep supply chains from overseas countries and just-in-time delivery.  All this will come to and end. When the shipping costs eat up all the gain from Asian slave labor, then the game is over.

 

- Uncle Bernie

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For some reason apparently

For some reason apparently shipping TO the US is far easier and cheaper than the other direction, both for EU and also CN.  You'd think that costs for shipping stuff back to CN would be more reasonable because of all the "dead head" shipping vessels/planes that need to go back to CN.  Sending them back loaded instead of empty would seem to make more sense.  Maybe they are just loading them up full of cash and gold and silver as CN sucks the life out of the US.  Of course if so, American voters and consumers can only blame ourselves.

 

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trying adding other shipping options

Something is wrong with the shipping cost on your eBay auction.  US $113.30  for Standard USPS Ground Shipping per example to Arizona for your Apple ][ is the problem. Ebay has done this to me before, I'd recommend trying to add and compare other shipping options FedEx or UPS Ground using different destination ZIP codes.

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Actually it really depends on the country
softwarejanitor wrote:

For some reason apparently shipping TO the US is far easier and cheaper than the other direction, both for EU and also CN.  You'd think that costs for shipping stuff back to CN would be more reasonable because of all the "dead head" shipping vessels/planes that need to go back to CN.  Sending them back loaded instead of empty would seem to make more sense.  Maybe they are just lo

 

Actually it doesn't apply to all countries in the EU and the reason predates the EU by more than 100 years.

 

On why I was able to ship an expansion card for the Apple II for $9 from Bulgaria to you or anyone else in the world with full tracking, when it’s 10 times that through FedEx, UPS or DHL, here is an enlightening video: https://youtu.be/lubhFBG8-Lw?si=KQW6O0T5Q4_tA4NQ

 

Even though right now I am in a position that benefits from this, I do see how unfair it is.

 

That being said, US sellers on eBay who sell electronic parts for a living do provide some fairly unexpensive shipping to Europe. For example I recently ordered this PCB from the US for my Sony Bravia TV and I paid only $21 for shipping: https://www.ebay.com/itm/274839093453

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Well that //e finally sold,

Well that //e finally sold, but I would have been better off if it hadn't.  The guy who bought it is in Oregon and eBay charged me $150 for shipping.  The buyer only paid $50 of that.  I also had to buy some packing materials.  So I really lost money on the deal.  Needless to say, I'll be going back to making the buyer pay actual shipping costs or I'm going to have to add around another $100 to the selling price to start with.  If I ever bother to try to sell anything through eBay again.  It's really not worth the trouble.

 

It's really kind of a bummer because it was a really clean and nice Platinum //e which I'd swapped the power supply board out for a new one.  And I did a really nice job of packing it.  If I don't get good feedback on the deal at least I'm done with ever trying to sell through eBay again.

 

 

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I don't know if y'all heard

I don't know if y'all heard of Pirate Ship, but I just shipped an Apple IIe Platinum from Butler PA to Burbank WA and it only cost me $45.00.  I shipped it UPS Ground.  They automatically find the lowest rate based on your parameters.   USPS would have cost me almote $100.   I usually give the buyer the option too.  If they want it faster and are willing to pay more.    The URL for Pirate Ship is  https://www.pirateship.com/

 

 

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jwg1962 wrote:I don't know if
jwg1962 wrote:

I don't know if y'all heard of Pirate Ship, but I just shipped an Apple IIe Platinum from Butler PA to Burbank WA and it only cost me $45.00.  I shipped it UPS Ground.  They automatically find the lowest rate based on your parameters.   USPS would have cost me almote $100.   I usually give the buyer the option too.  If they want it faster and are willing to pa

I will have to check that out.  What eBay charged me for shipping was ridiculous, and it wasn't even for a fast method, it was USPS parcel ground of some kind.

 

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Pirateship or even paypal

Pirateship or even paypal (who uses shipstation now) can quote multiple vendors and beat USPS counter rate. Ebay for small usps stuff can also beat retail/counter rates. But larger stuff I agree, measure and weigh into priateship, shipstation, or someone else who can also quote UPS or FedEx against USPS. They will almost always be cheaper for something as big as a IIe. 

 

Sorry you took a hit on it, I hope the person getting the machine actually appreciates it. 

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oversize

It sounds like USPS charged you the Oversized rate for Retail Ground, which is $170.80 for mailing zone 5. This applies to parcels "over 108 inches but not more than 130 inches in combined length and girth" and applies regardless of parcel weight. "Girth" is the circumference around the two shorter dimensions. So solving the inequality

108 < L + 2W + 2H

for a roughly cube shaped parcel, the smallest box considered Oversized is just 21" x 21" x 24", or 22" x 22" x 22".

USPS also uses "dimensional weight" for parcels over 1 cubic foot in volume (12" x 12" x 12"), in other words, all large parcels. So a parcel that was 20" x 20" x 20"—or 8000 in3—is charged at the 49 pound rate if it is lighter than 49 pounds. For mailing zone 5 that is $82.80 and there is a $18 surcharge for any parcel over 2 ft3, so it would cost $100.80.

You can do a lot better than this with UPS or FedEx Ground, so it is almost always advantageous to ship large packages through them. USPS also does offer lower commercial package rates but only for "Destination Entry" service which is not available to retail customers.

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Shipping rates are moon prices nowadays ...

... as I've seen with my famous Apple-1 kits (now sold out). I started to make these kits in 2019 and since then the postage within the continental USA has nearly  doubled. Postage to overseas destinations has nearly tripled.

 

Typical net salaries have not doubled or tripled. Food increased in price the same. I just had a 100% grass fed filet mignon beef steak on my BBQ which cost me $22 --- and it was small. Did not need a loupe to find it, though, as is common now with such steaks at restaurants.

 

We are quickly approaching a point where shipping some stuff costs more than what the stuff is worth. I'm sure this may kill Ebay.

 

The only upside I can see from that is that manufacturing may come back to the USA - once shipping costs increases eat up all the profits from foreign slave labor in Communist countries it may be more profitable to actually manufacture stuff again here in the good 'ol USA. Our wages for "unskilled" labor are already down to slave labor standards anyways.  Except that a slave does not need to pay for his/her own food/housing/clothing/car to go to the workplace.

 

Modern times indeed.

 

- Uncle Bernie

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Hi Uncle Bernie!

Our prices for international delivery have also increased. At the beginning of 2022 the cost of shipping a parcel to the U.S. weighing 200 grams was 800 rubles, and now I looked it is already 1100 rubles. I guess it's like that all over the world now, inflation.

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Most of my international

Most of my international outgoing mail costs went from a minimum of $14 to minimum $20 or so for airmail of small parcels (under 16oz). It depends more on the destination country now than it used to, it seems, as I used to be able to count on shipping an LP to Canada or the UK or whatever for about $14. Now it could be anything from that to $22 or more.

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skate323k137 wrote:Most of my
skate323k137 wrote:

Most of my international outgoing mail costs went from a minimum of $14 to minimum $20 or so for airmail of small parcels (under 16oz). It depends more on the destination country now than it used to, it seems, as I used to be able to count on shipping an LP to Canada or the UK or whatever for about $14. Now it could be anything from that to $22 or more.

 

The biggest beef I have with Canada and Australia is the lack of tracking. How is it that every other developed country (and even some not-so-developed ones) have full point-to-point tracking for packages over regular mail, except those two???

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